In Need of An Attorney?

I have been busy designing websites again.  My latest design is for John Perry Brooks an attorney in Wichita Falls Texas.

John Brooks offers law services for: estate planning, probate, trusts; elder law, medicaid; estate and probate disputes; business partnership and corporation; SEC/broker; as well as dispute resolution and mediation.

If you are in the market for an attorney in any of these areas just hop on over to John Perry Brooks Attorney at Law and tell him that Debbie Howard sent you.

Just in case you would like that website address you can locate him at: https://www.jbrookslawfirm.com

*None of the links on this blog post are paid links
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12 House Cleaning Cheats For Busy Moms

Cheaters Way To Clean House For Busy Moms

I am a Gigi now with number 6 grandchild on the way.  I raised 3 children of my own and now I get to help a bit with my grandchildren.  I know times have changed in respect to child rearing but there are definitely some things that have not changed.

One of those things that remains as true today as it was "back then", is exhausted parents with children who require attention vs. jobs, homes, and requirements of life.  Time becomes a premium.  Guilt grows to huge proportions.  Guilt because you did chores rather than spend time with your children or guilt because you spent time with the children so your house is dirty.  Have you ever heard, "What did you do all day?"  How frustrating those words can be after you spent the entire day following after a child and cleaning up messes all day long.  Maybe instead of the words you just got a look.  Oh how I remember those days!

There are a few really wise things I learned from another mom that helped me quickly clean the house day to day. Here are 12 house cleaning cheats for busy moms: 

1. It is easy to find 15 to 30 minutes to go through the living room, kitchen and bathroom (public places in the home) to tidy up.  Quickly pick up toys and stash in a container. Clothes go to the laundry hamper, dishes go to the kitchen. I do this right before the hubby comes home. I still do it.  Sometimes, I enlist the kids to help.  I make it fun.  Treat it as a race to see who can get the most done.

2. The toothpaste that falls into the sink when I am brushing is great to use in shining my sink up. The same goes for that soap I just rinsed off my hands.  I take my hand and use finger wipe that soap to wash the sink a bit...a little rinse and seconds later the sink is shiny again. 

3. That washcloth I just washed my face with gets to shine up the faucet, sink or counter too. (even the disposable ones work for this!)  Rinse it out if it is too dirty with makeup. 

4. I keep a scrub brush with a long handle (for reaching) hanging in my shower.  When I am about to get out, I take a bit of soap or shampoo on my brush and scrub those spots in my shower.  a quick rinse later and I get out of a shiny shower or tub.

5. A bit of bleach or cleaner  stored near the potty and a toilet brush makes it easy to give a quick cleaning swish at least once a day.  Or better yet get one of those brushes with the cleaner included.   You can also mix up your own cleaner with essential oils for those of you conscious of chemicals.

6. Cleaning wipes stored nearby are a quick way to clean under and on the seat.  You can also use baby wipes or facial wipes with a bit of essential oil added for this job.

7. That sticky kitchen or bathroom floor that needs to be mopped can be cleaned the cheaters way...drop a wet rag with a bit of cleaner on it and use your foot to quickly mop up any spots.  This doesn't eliminate the big mop up but it does help your floor go a few extra days till that mop up can happen.  Get the kids to help with this one!  They love to help.  It doesn't matter if they don't do it perfectly.  Imperfect clean up is better than no cleanup.

8. Have a little dust pan with a crumb brush ready for your kids to help "sweep" the floor in spots.

9.  Kids are motivated to quickly tidy up their rooms if you tell them, "We are not going anywhere or doing anything until your bed is made and room picked up!"  You will be amazed how quick they can make it look better.  Wait until 10 minutes before it is time to leave for this one.  That adds to the motivation (I didn't believe it would work.  I thought they would just let us be late for school but I found out different when I tried it!)

10.  Kids also love to help do dishes if you are there helping too.  They can be on a chair with a brush and soapy water helping clean them a bit before the dishwasher. 

11. Kids can help with the silverware, pans and plastic items when unloading or loading.  Make it fun while you work.  Everything you do with your kids makes great memories and raises them up to be people with a great work ethic some day.

12. Organization needed?  Instead of tackling the entire job just clean out 1 drawer or 1 cabinet each day or week.  Before long your whole house will be organized.  Keep doing this and it is perpetually organized.

All these little cheats add up and will help your house to stay a lot cleaner.  They do not eliminate the need for the deep clean but they will help that deep clean be much easier if you don't have to get out the hoe for the clutter and the chisel for the grime. It will take the overwhelming cleaning job down to manageable.  You will be amazed at how easy the cheats are to add into your day.

I bet each of you can come up with even more ways to cheat in day to day house cleaning too.  I would love to hear some of your ideas in the comments.

Read here for more Tips for moms

Check here for Organization Tips

Look here for Encouragement

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Celebrating With Christmas Traditions

Celebrating With Christmas Traditions

Christmas is definitely a wonderful time of the year.   Christmas for me includes so many special traditions.

I love to sing along to Christmas music as I decorate my home in celebration of that anticipated day.  I love to have lots of lights and sparkle.  My family teases me because no one can come to my house and leave without getting a bit of glitter on them.

It is also a time for family and friends to connect and celebrate at special dinners, parties, and get togethers.  The calendar seems to fill up quick with these but that is OK because it is this part that multiplies joy.

I also have the tradition of presents.  I absolutely love to give and receive presents.  It isn't about how much those presents cost or whether it is the latest greatest whatever.  It is about finding that special something that shows the receiver that you considered them.

I also thoroughly enjoy wrapping those gifts.  I like to make those gifts look really pretty under my Christmas tree.  Many people would consider wrapping gifts a drudgery but not me.   My tradition is to make a big pile of gifts to wrap on one side of me and all my Christmas wrapping materials on the other side.  I sit on my couch and pull my big round coffee table closer so that I can wrap in comfort.  Then I spend the time watching Christmas movies while wrapping the evening away.

This year, I think I will consider wrapping presents on a Sunday because Pure Flix is offering a free Christmas movie every Sunday the rest of December.  You can sign up for 1 Free movie every Sunday through December 24th and no credit card information is needed.  How great is that?  You can signup for the free movie every Sunday at the Pure Flix Signup Page. This is a great network that offers good wholesome, family-friendly movies that do not offend Christian values not to mention they also offer some great free homeschool resources in addition to their great lineup of pure clean movies.

As you go through the hustle and bustle of the holidays, remember to take a little time to savor and enjoy your traditions.

Want more?  Read more about Christmas

You can find some great Christmas Recipes  on Texasdaisey Creations.

***There was no exchange of goods, services, or money for the links on this post***

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Tips For Making Your Home Beautiful on a Budget

Learn my tips for making your home beautiful on a budget.
Do you want to learn how to make your home beautiful on a budget? Are you feeling the need for an update in your home or maybe even a complete overhaul but then you see the size of your budget compared to the list of needs and then feel overwhelmed?  I have been there. I know those feelings of frustration, overwhelm, helplessness, and even depression that can come at times like this.  I also know how the condition of a woman's home can make such a difference in how she feels and acts.  It isn't that it needs to be fancy or large.  It just needs to feel good, be pretty and be comfortable.  That is possible. In the next few weeks, I will share some of my best tips for making your home beautiful on a budget.
Believe it or not, the atmosphere is the first most important thing about making your home feel and look good.  Decorating is important to me, colors, paint, textures, furniture, and accessories are great but one can spend millions of dollars on decorations and still have a home that doesn't feel like a home.  Atmosphere is what makes a difference.  The first thing I did after we purchased our little lakehouse is to change the atmosphere.

 There are many who would love to say that atmosphere doesn't make a difference or that it will come later when it is beautiful but think about it.  When you have been out shopping and suddenly you step into a store that makes you sigh with joy and wonder.  That place just feels good the minute you step into it.  You look around and feel the beauty as well as see it.  If you pay close attention you will realize that it isn't just how it is decorated because you will realize there are many things there that have been in so many other places but they didn't feel like this.  You will realize it is arranged beautifully but the same is true in so many other places.  If you will look deeper you will realize it is a spiritual difference in the atmosphere.

Have I scared you yet?  Get ready because it is going to get deeper before I am done.  This is the time to bail before I go on talking about spiritual things that might make you feel uncomfortable.  By the way, I am not going to give you breadcrumb scriptures to lead the way.  I believe it is time for Christians who are Kingdom minded and want to be mature sons to stop being fed like a baby with milk and grow up.  We need to begin to fully experience the scriptures so lovingly written for us and learn how to look deeper with the help of Holy Spirit rather than a teacher or preacher to bottle feed it to us.  It is time we immerse ourselves in His scripture, learn His ways, and begin our Kingdom journey with Him. For those of you still reading, this is your last chance, here we go...

The spiritual atmosphere of a place affects everyone who comes into that place whether they realize it or not.  There are many things that affect and cause a spiritual atmosphere.  I am going to start with the basics here.  You are welcome to contact me if you are interested in or need help on anything deeper or even weirder on this topic, nothing surprises me too much on this topic.  

When we first purchased our lakehouse it came with spiritual baggage.  Every place on earth comes with spiritual baggage.  Now that baggage can be good, bad, evil, wonderful and everything you can think of.  That happens because of the people who were there before and those who are there now.   Everything that  has occurred in that place has also affected it. You can check out The Bible to verify this.  Just google "The land is defiled in scriptures"  and you will see the negative ways we affect it.  Everything we do affects creation. We choose whether it is heavenly or hellish.  We are the gates of Heaven and/or hell.  What gate are you choosing to open when you step into a place?

A very simple thing you can do to change an atmosphere is step into it.  Have you ever noticed at a gathering when one person stepped in the whole atmosphere changed for the better or worse?  Well you just saw spiritual dynamics at work.  How you are feeling and thinking affects the atmosphere when you step into it.  Your relationship with God (YHVH ) affects the atmosphere. How is the atmosphere changing when you step in?  Is it getting better or is it going the other way?  You choose.  If you want your home to become a haven of beauty, love, refreshing, peace or anything then you can make the difference by deciding in your heart to release that into your home the moment you step in. 

How do I release those good and Heavenly things?  Here it is...I first step into His kingdom (it is at hand, close by)  I close my eyes (not necessary but helps one focus when first learning) When I began this I saw only darkness when I closed my eyes, now I see more.  That darkness is a veil in the temple of our body.  When Jesus died, that veil was torn so that we could step through into the Holy place (hidden place, prayer closet).  I part that veil and step through that veil by faith. (You can even take a physical step forward to help you have a physical experience that will give you a pattern for how the spiritual experience will feel.

After I step through, I inhale and pray, "Father I receive everything you have for me today in this place by faith."  Next, I back out (never turn your back on a King) and I exhale as I declare, "I release everything you gave me Father into this atmosphere to manifest as you desire."  Try it!  You will see what I mean if you truly do it with faith and a heart of expectation, knowing He will not give you a serpent or stone (anything that will harm you or weigh you down) when you ask.  If you do this every day for just 5 minutes, You will begin to see and feel a definite difference in your home.

Now, go a bit deeper when you step in.  "Father, I come into the place of Your presence by faith and I ask for peace, love, laughter, joy, beauty, etc. (whatever traits you desire for your home) to be released for my home."   Inhale and then back out and exhale and declare, "Father, I release all those things (I list them out sometimes) into this place and atmosphere to manifest without delay as You have ordained."  

Practice "going in and coming out" in this way until my next post on making your home beautiful on a budget and I would love it if you would leave a comment sharing what has happened as a result.  When we share testimony it raises the faith of all who hear it and increases the results.  My testimony on this is that the very things I stepped in and prayed for and then stepped out and released are the same things that people who visit my home and property will list out and say they feel when they are here. They have no idea that I asked for my property to be blessed with these things but they experience them and so does my family.

I have placed a beautiful Mezuzah on the lintel post of my door not because I am Jewish but because the scriptures say to do so.   I picked a really beautiful one so that it catches my attention and reminds me. It is there for me to be reminded to go into the kingdom and come out with blessings for my home as I step through the door of my home.  I don't believe we should be "religious" or motivated by law but I do believe there are keys in scripture that when applied properly with right heart intent will help us walk in His ways and change everything in Heavenly ways for the better of everyone and every place on Earth. 

I do plan to get to the actual physical parts of making your home beautiful on a budget which includes color, texture, furniture, accessories, etc but understand that everything in life needs to be done properly, in order, with the right foundation to achieve the best outcome.  Get the spiritual part right and the rest will be as easy to achieve as sliding through warm butter.  

If you liked this post you may also like:  Lakehouse Entryway 

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Hope Is A Beautiful Thing

Help int the battle against mesothelioma: Hope is a beautiful thing

I would like you to meet Heather Von St. James.  She is a survivor of a rare cancer called mesothelioma.  I thought you might be inspired by her story:

My name is Heather Von St. James.  I am a mother, a sister, a wife, and an 11 year survivor to the rare cancer mesothelioma.  I am married to the love of my life, Cams and we have a beautiful daughter, Lily and this is my story.

Lily was born in 2005.  Just three and a half months after our baby girl joined our family I started experiencing my symptoms.  At the time, it was very easy to convince myself that my symptoms were merely signs of postpartum.  After all, I had just given birth.  During my pregnancy I didn’t gain very much weight.  So, when I began to lose an unexplainable amount of weight I started think something might be off.  Not to mention, I was so tired, all the time. I never seemed to be able to shake my exhaustion.   To top it off, I had a persistent low-grade fever that would plague me each night.  Each and every one of my symptoms alone never seemed too serious.  Until it happened.  I remember putting Lily in her swing and passing out for over an hour and a half.  When I woke up I thought there’s no way this can be right.  Like anyone new mother feeling that way I headed to the doctor.

Never, in all of my life, could I have ever imagined that these things that were happening to me could be the result of something so awful.  On November 21, 2005 I was officially diagnosed - it was cancer.  I remember that's all I could hear, cancer.  I was given 15 months to live with a diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma.  The average age for a mesothelioma diagnosis is 75 for males and 72 for females.  But here I was, a brand new mother and it was happening to me.

Mesothelioma clearly does not discriminate.  It is caused by exposure to asbestos and is typically found in a person’s lungs or abdomen. It’s a unique and extremely threatening cancer because it has a very long latency period.  It can take years after exposure to present any real symptoms.  After taking some time to determine when, where and how I was exposed it dawned on me.  When I was little I would play in my father’s jacket after he got home from his job in construction.  All I remember was it being one of the warmest things ever. It hung right in the entryway of our house and it was always my go-to when I went outside because it meant I wouldn’t get my coat dirty.  Sure, it was always dusty but he worked in construction -why wouldn’t it be?  I never thought twice about that.   Little did I know his jacket was covered in asbestos fibers.

On February 2, 2006 my left lung, one of my ribs, half of my diaphragm and some of the lining of my heart/lung were removed. This experimental procedure, coupled with radiation and chemotherapy, were by best shot at being able to spend more than 15 months with my baby girl.   I spent weeks in the hospital and then recovered with my parents in South Dakota accompanied by Lily. It was a very long road to recovery.  Cam could only see us here and there. It was an incredibly tough time for my family and me.

One of the biggest things we had to learn was what our new normal was.  I now stayed home with Lily while Cam went back to school and furthered his career so he could support us. I was no longer contributing to our household financially as I had in the past, my career that I had worked for so many years towards was now gone.

After a while I learned about mesothelioma awareness conventions and events and different groups that existed in the mesothelioma community.  I am thankful for these causes everyday because I realized I was not alone in this fight.  I learned that I could help people.  It is not only rare to survive this disease but, it is very rare to survive this disease by 11 years. I learned to share my story and connect with people affected by mesothelioma because I could provide them something that is exceedingly scarce in our community, hope.  Doctors, statistics, and numbers offer meso patients grim prognoses.  My story offers them a reprieve to that reality.  This along with blogging for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance has become my passion and a huge part of my life.  I want to spread hope to as many people as I can.  When there is nowhere else to look, the hope that there is someone, anyone who has beaten this cancer and continues to beat it everyday is what most people need.

I have dedicated my life to mesothelioma advocacy so it didn’t take me long to start working toward monetarily benefiting the Meso community through what I call: Lung Leavin’ Day.  Ten years ago my sister and my husband decided to turn the anniversary of the day my lung was removed into a celebration.  Lung Leavin' Day that would take place each year on the anniversary of my surgery.  My sister came up with “Lung Leavin’ Day” and it’s sort of just stuck ever since. This celebration started as me and my family and few close friends shivering around a campfire. It has since grown to a huge gathering of people in person and online that supports several different foundations and organizations in the mesothelioma community.

To date we’ve raised over $30,000 for The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization and the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. This celebration has become so much more than me and my family surrounding that campfire. Each year, like the ten before, we each write our deepest fears on a dinner plate with a sharpie and smash the plates into a campfire.  It might sound silly, but it is one of the most cathartic experiences I have come across. To be able to outwardly express your fear and then symbolically and quite literally smash it – is absolutely invigorating.  Each year we try to involve as many people as we can in the celebration.  It’s no longer about me, my lungs or even just mesothelioma. It’s about people relying on their community, addressing their fears, smashing them and, healing while doing so.

After my diagnosis you could not have told me I would be where I am today, but here I am.  I made the decision that I was going to do whatever it took to raise my baby girl, I was going to fight.  15 months was not enough for me.  Along the way I learned that I have more to offer the world than I could have ever imagined.  I can offer hope and strength and most importantly, I can help.


Heather has a very powerful story, If you would like to help in the fight against mesothelioma or find hope in your own battle, click the links above and they will take you to websites where you can donate or volunteer in the battle against the cancer called mesothelioma.

* This is not a paid post. No compensation was received for this post.

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